Friday, October 5, 2012

Every Step of the Way, Part 5

First, let me say that I am sorry it's been so long since I've posted a part to this story. 
Secondly, I feel like I've been neglecting the "story writing" side to this blog, and I hope to maybe change that soon.
And thirdly, I apologize... yeah. Reading over this story again just kinda made me squint. It's been about a year since I wrote this and I am finding so many problems with it. I'm hoping to finish this up soon so we can move to something else. 

Exactly an hour later, we sailed for the Netherlands. It was a beautiful day for sailing. The wind blew my hair. The sun shined down. We made good time and reached the Netherlands before the sunset.

We dressed in Dutch clothes, so as not to be noticed. We got off the large ship and headed into town.

Richard was residing at a nearby inn. We went inside and found his room. Catherine knocked quietly. The door opened an inch, then all the way.

“Catherine!” Richard exclaimed, pulling us inside. “You’re here!” They embraced, and Richard took Susan from my hands. He kissed her soft cheek. Catherine filled him in on everything that had happened - from the escape to the men who questioned me at Leigh.

“Where to now?” Catherine asked her husband. I could tell she was glad to have him in charge now.

“Santon,” he replied. “It’s in the province of Cleveland. We’ll leave as soon as you’re up to it.”

“Let’s leave soon,” she said. So later that day, Catherine, Richard, the girls and I, and Hugh and Samuel set out for Santon. It would take a long time to walk to Santon. Richard had some money, so we bought provisions and started the long journey.

By the time we had almost reached Santon, it had been two, long weeks. The town was seen faintly below from the road we were walking on. It was getting dark, so we set up camp like we did every night. Richard built a fire, and we made supper. It was dark now, and the only light we had was the glow of the sparking fire.

“Helen? Would you please get some water from the stream at the bottom of the hill?” Catherine asked. I picked up the bucket and started down the pitch-black hill. I could hear the rippling stream nearby. Suddenly, my foot caught on something and I tumbled. Pain shot up my leg. I rolled down and down, gaining speed every second. I screamed and landed with a flop at the bottom of the hill. I lay there, stunned. Catherine and Richard came running down.

“Oh, Helen, are you all right?” Catherine panted, kneeling beside me. I could feel blood on my right leg. It ached terribly.

“Let’s bring her up by the fire so we can see,” Richard said, picking me up. They climbed the hill and sat me down by the warm fire.

“That’s a nasty cut,” Richard said.

“What happened, Helen?” Catherine asked.

“I think I tripped on some briars,” I replied. Catherine carefully went to the stream and got some water with the bucket I had dropped. Richard made a makeshift bandage out of his handkerchief.

“There, that ought to hold,” he said. It stung badly.

“She’s right,” Catherine said, coming up the hill. “There are some clumps of thorns and briars down here.”

That night, I didn’t get much sleep. It was very cold. My leg hurt, and I was very hungry.

We got up early the next day and headed down the road to Santon. I hobbled along, half leaning on Edith’s shoulder. We reached Santon shortly, and Richard led us to an inn. With some of his money, he rented three small rooms. We stayed in the city more than two weeks.

Richard still didn’t feel very comfortable in the town. One day, he said, “I’ve learned about a free city nearby named Wesel. Some French-speaking people have gathered there to escape religious persecution,” he said.

“Are you saying we should leave?” Catherine asked.

“Yes. I have the feeling we are being watched here in Santon,” he said.

“How will get there?” Catherine asked.

“We’ll walk. But I think it would be best if we take only two servants with us,” he said.

“You’re right. It would look strange to see so many people leaving. We will take Helen and Edith,” Catherine suggested.

“All right. Hugh, Samuel, and Agnes can stay here. We will sneak out,” he said.

So that afternoon, we took a pleasant walk outside of town. This was merely a ruse, however. In reality, we were leaving Santon and heading towards Wesel. A mile outside of Santon, a rain began to fall. It wasn’t an ordinary rain, but a cold, freezing rain. It was now February, and there was ice and snow on the ground. The rain started to thaw the ice on the road, making it very difficult to travel. I remember slipping many times, and getting back up, only to fall again. It was hard to see ahead of us because the rain came down in sheets. Richard walked in front, carrying Susan. Catherine walked beside him, wearing his cloak and carrying his sword. We walked on and on, soaked to the bones.

The rain continued to fall. For four, tiring hours we walked, stopping only a few times to rest. It was 6:00, when we finally reached Wesel. I was so eager to finally be able to go inside a warm, dry building. But, I would have to wait. No inn would accept us. We knocked on dozens of doors, but since we were foreigners, no one wanted us. In desperation, Richard found an enclosed porch on the side of a church. He planned for us to spend the night there. Nearby, a man ran down the darkened street, trying to reach shelter from the rain. Richard stopped him.

“Sir, do you know somewhere we could stay?” he asked. The man looked at him funny, and said something in a foreign language. Then, he left.

“I wonder what he said,” Richard sighed. “I think it was Dutch.”

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